#1
Good Afternoon,

So, ive been playing for about 5ish years meow and I have gotten to the point where Im not bad at playing but Im not where I want to be. Ive read books and practiced when I can, but I feel like Im not getting anywhere. I was looking into Musicians Institute just so I could be surrounded in that environment and learn some new things, but from what I have heard that place is cancer on your wallet and you get nothing out of it really. Ive also been looking for a teacher, but I have no idea how to pick one and if it worth it.

Any ideas on how to overcome this plateau?


Thank You 
#2
MI is useful for a highly skilled player to make pro contacts.  A private guitar teacher is a much better way to go for developing your vocabulary and fretboard skills.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
#3
I found my guitar teacher out of luck, as well as my trumpet teacher (both during middle school/highschool). But I would shop around your local mom&pop music stores. Usually you'll find they are extremely helpful in helping you out.
#4
Blckspawn What books have you been reading?  Make sense of them?
Harmony, for example, is trivial to understand (I was taught in 4 one hr sessions, covering a lot of Jazz).  The hard bit is applying it on your feet.  The fun bit is taking it further, and abusing it.  20 years on, and I'm still exploring.  It's a lifetime journey.
Are you looking for progress on knowledge or on technique?  Either way, a good teacher is a very good idea.  Avoid one that just tries to pass on songs with no explanation of what's going on.  They are legion.  If (s)he doesn't discuss your goals, make an exit.
#5
Quote by Blckspawn
Good Afternoon,

So, ive been playing for about 5ish years meow and I have gotten to the point where Im not bad at playing but Im not where I want to be. Ive read books and practiced when I can, but I feel like Im not getting anywhere. I was looking into Musicians Institute just so I could be surrounded in that environment and learn some new things, but from what I have heard that place is cancer on your wallet and you get nothing out of it really. Ive also been looking for a teacher, but I have no idea how to pick one and if it worth it.

Any ideas on how to overcome this plateau?


Thank You 

I would suggest finding a good teacher. 

Some tips on finding a good teacher:

1) Make sure he's interested in your goals, not only his.
2) Ask him questions like "my short term goals are such and such, my longer term goals are such an such, can you help me find the most efficient and enjoyable way to reach them? Could you make some sort of plan for me?" and see if you're satisfied with the answer.
3) Make sure he looks confident. Though a bad teacher can pretend he's confident and a good teacher may be shy, it's more likely that if he's confident, he knows what he's doing.
4) He's probably more expensive - once again a poor teacher may have a high price and vice versa, but in general the more expensive ones are the better. (In the long run they're cheaper, because if you go to a bad teacher, you'll eventually spend more time correcting bad habits)
#6
Quote by Robert Callus
I would suggest finding a good teacher. 

Some tips on finding a good teacher:

1) Make sure he's interested in your goals, not only his.
2) Ask him questions like "my short term goals are such and such, my longer term goals are such an such, can you help me find the most efficient and enjoyable way to reach them? Could you make some sort of plan for me?" and see if you're satisfied with the answer.
3) Make sure he looks confident. Though a bad teacher can pretend he's confident and a good teacher may be shy, it's more likely that if he's confident, he knows what he's doing.
4) He's probably more expensive - once again a poor teacher may have a high price and vice versa, but in general the more expensive ones are the better. (In the long run they're cheaper, because if you go to a bad teacher, you'll eventually spend more time correcting bad habits)

But where do I even start to look? Every time I google teachers i get teachers for children and classes for kids.
#7
I really think you are looking at this totally wrong.

Most famous guitarists did not come from schools or institutes. They are pointless if you want to be famous.

Join a band to get experience. Write your own songs NOW, do not wait.

Do your own gigs.

Forget the accademtic music things - all they do is teach you to teach music or teach you to read and play so you can be a BACKING musician.

Get out there!!!
#8
Quote by Blckspawn
But where do I even start to look? Every time I google teachers i get teachers for children and classes for kids.

I can't really reply to that since we don't live in the same country. However most music shops recommend teachers and in general, if the music shop is serious, he won't suggest a bad teacher. On Google you may be getting teachers for children but probably if you keep searching you'll find someone that fits your style.

There are also online teachers, you may want to check out Tom Hess. His courses are specifically based on the student's goals. However online or offline, always make sure  the teacher focuses on your needs and is able to meet them. That's the real thing I can give you advice on. I've wasted countless of hours practicing things I didn't need, or for exams, because the teacher was judging by his own yardstick not mine, and back then I didn't know any better.
#9
 
Quote by PSimonR I really think you are looking at this totally wrong.  Most famous guitarists did not come from schools or institutes. They are pointless if you want to be famous.  Join a band to get experience. Write your own songs NOW, do not wait.  Do your own gigs.  Forget the accademtic music things - all they do is teach you to teach music or teach you to read and play so you can be a BACKING musician.  Get out there!!!

  

This advice really isn't that good. As far as I know, TS didn't ask "how to get famous", he asked "how do I get better?", and while playing in a band is a great way to achieve that, so is getting a teacher or enrolling in a music school. Also, the "academic" music things teach you a lot more than just how to teach or how to be a "mere backing musicians" (most professional backing musicians are top level players who can blow bedroom warriors out of the water). If you want to become a professional musician, or just a better musician, there isn't really a downside to studying music.
Quote by Robert CallusThere are also online teachers, you may want to check out Tom Hess.

I strongly advise against this. Getting a paid online teacher is a waste of money and really can't replace a real teacher, unless we're talking one-on-one lessons via skype/etc. (which Tom Hess does not offer afaik). If you want to spend money on education, don't waste it on online lessons, get a real teacher instead. If you don't want to spend money, just use free online resources.
Quote by Blckspawn
But where do I even start to look? Every time I google teachers i get teachers for children and classes for kids.

First of all - definitely get a teacher.

Second of all - where are you located? I live in a medium size city and I can find guitar lessons ranging from beginner courses to professional education without even looking. I've heard that in some areas, guitar shops can have ads for private teachers. You could also look into pseudo-formal education, like maybe there are cheaper, independent music schools nearby you that offer courses/teachers on different instruments (we at least have those around here), that are not as formal as music academies, conservatories etc. and those are a good middle ground between affordable and professional imo, but again I have no idea where you live so can't really tell.
Quote by Jet Penguin
Theory: Not rules, just tools.

Quote by Hail
*note that by fan i mean that guy who wants his friends to know he knows this totally obscure hip band that only he knows about with 236 views on youtube. lookin' at Kev here
#10
 
Quote by Robert CallusThere are also online teachers, you may want to check out Tom Hess.

"I strongly advise against this. Getting a paid online teacher is a waste of money and really can't replace a real teacher, unless we're talking one-on-one lessons via skype/etc. (which Tom Hess does not offer afaik). If you want to spend money on education, don't waste it on online lessons, get a real teacher instead. If you don't want to spend money, just use free online resources." 

I do not take online lessons myself, though I use another service from Tom Hess and it's producing results, so I can fairly assume it's the same thing with correspondence lessons. He has his own way of teaching, on which I was skeptic myself at first. However after a little while I started seeing the results I wanted, so I was like, OK, this works.

While I agree that a teacher you meet face to face (if he's the right one) can do things an online teacher can't, I strongly advice AGAINST learning only from free resources on the Internet. You do learn things, but not in a strategic way directed towards reaching your goals. Unless one is on a very advanced level, not having a teacher (online or offline) to guide you will make the learning process a lot longer, and more frustrating. In hindsight now I realize there were many things I didn't really need to learn but spent hours working on, because I found a free video, while I was missing on the things I really needed.

In short, whether online or offline, find a teacher that knows what he's doing and is focused on your goals. Do not depend on free stuff on the Internet, even though there's some really good stuff out there, it's not enough.
#11
Quote by Kevätuhri




This advice really isn't that good. As far as I know, TS didn't ask "how to get famous", he asked "how do I get better?", and while playing in a band is a great way to achieve that, so is getting a teacher or enrolling in a music school. Also, the "academic" music things teach you a lot more than just how to teach or how to be a "mere backing musicians" (most professional backing musicians are top level players who can blow bedroom warriors out of the water). If you want to become a professional musician, or just a better musician, there isn't really a downside to studying music.


While I may have differences on your stand on online lessons, this is very good advice. If you want to achieve your goals, whether to get better, become the best, play in a successful band or become famous, you need to BOTH study music (from a teacher) and applying what you learnt by playing with others (ex in a band)

It's not either or. If you only play on your own, you will learn a lot of things but have no clue how to apply them. If you only play in a band, but do not learn the ideal positions, techniques, scales and chords etc, your playing will be sloppy. You may not even realize it, but other people will, especially if they are musicians themselves. (Example of sloppy: Playing the right note, at slightly the wrong time while there is unwanted sound coming from the strings you're not playing a note on)
#12
Robert Callus 

Fair enough. Paid online education can be beneficial - but only if you find a teacher that can give you personal feedback. Even a structured course means nothing if the teacher can't check up on your progress and see if you're improving, without any feedback there is no difference between an online teacher and a youtube lesson. The point of a teacher is that a student gets education tailored to him/her specifically - and if the method isn't working, it's the teachers responsibility to find a new approach. A lot of online teachers do not offer these services, but instead just give you course materials that may or may not work for you.

And funny that you bring up Tom Hess, who is widely considered to be the worst example of online teachers and generally lives in infamy on this site. We've had people over the years complaining about his services, best case scenarios being people that felt like the courses weren't that great, and worst case scenarios being people who felt that they were outright scammed. In any case, paying for an online teacher requires caution, and I advise anyone to research thoroughly before committing. 
Quote by Jet Penguin
Theory: Not rules, just tools.

Quote by Hail
*note that by fan i mean that guy who wants his friends to know he knows this totally obscure hip band that only he knows about with 236 views on youtube. lookin' at Kev here
#13
I can't comment on Tom Hess' guitar lessons since I don't take them myself, except that I know he does give feedback since the correspondence students send him video recordings of what they're struggling with and he sends his comments. I agree it's not the same as someone seeing you face to face and correcting your mistakes instantly, but he does give feedback to his correspondence students.

He definitely's not a scam. I've been playing for 25 years, dreaming that all my income is music related for the past 20. A year ago I started his programme and for the first time, half of my income comes from teaching music, the other half still comes from the day job. I calculate that in less than a year all my income will be music related. Mind you, it came through my hard (but fun) work. Tom promised me that if I work hard, I will be able to quit the day job, and I'm seeing the result. so it's definitely not a scam.

I can understand some people may either not like his style, his personality or the idea of online lessons. One man's meat is another man's poison. But that doesn't make him a scam.

That said, my advice for Blckspawn is not "take lessons from Tom Hess" or "take online lessons". That was just a suggestion. My real advice is more about finding a teacher that is oriented on your goals, rather than his. Believe me, I've spent years with teachers who either taught me tons of scales (without even teaching me how to put into use and apply the minor pentatonic), prepare me for exams, or even teaching me classical guitar - when what I wanted was to play in a Rock band. Thus, whoever the teacher is, online or offline, always make sure he gives you what you really need, not what is most convenient for him.

And that's what makes the free stuff, even though good, not enough. Free stuff is directed to a wide audience, not your particular needs and goals.
#14
So whist looking for a private private teacher, I found out that the local guitar center offers lessons. Im not too sure about this seeing as its a guitar store. Has anyone tried this or know a friend that has been to to it?